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Great writing and acting.
The elements of the American film noir are all followed in this entertaining if very cheaply made road film from 1945.
Director Edgar G. Ulmer began his film career in the German film industry. In this B-movie he proves that budgetary constraints do not prevent a damn good film.
The story is of a relatively poor jazz musician, played by Tom Neal hitchhiking from East to West coast United States.
However what appears to be a lucky hitch descends into a hellish story as the driver has a heart attack and drops dead whilst asleep in the passenger seat as Neal drives oblivious.
However when he realises his 'passenger' is dead when he stops the car to put up the hood during a rain storm and he falls out of the car Neal realises it could incriminate him.
As the film progresses a staple of film noir films, a domineering woman becomes involved played by Ann Savage. She makes the situation worse incriminating Neal further in a tangled mess of greed and money, and yet more death.
The cast are unknowns, Neal had real life issues similar to his loser character in this film.
The rear projected landscapes are quite comic because of their unrealistic nature, although that wasn't the intention!
A great Noir film by Edgar Ulmer that does not play out as a traditional Noir film. It moves like poetry as Al Roberts journey to be reunited with his love is thwarted by a series of misfortunes. Roberts sums it up best as he talks about the Saxophone player is not playing a love song but a dirge. Should be at the top of anyone's Noir list of films.
A smart, unpredictable, and often overlooked film noir, Detour deserves to be recognized as one of the most clever movies of its genre.
Everything about this film (except the cinematography) is wrong. Insane acting by Ann Savage. Weird, badly-written script. But it's one of the most mesmerizing movies I've ever seen! Can hardly wait to see it again.
The good kind of ridiculous
It was so much fun to watch Detour again on a early Fall Friday evening! I love old black-and-white classics that give us a good tale in 60 minutes.
What is most intriguing about Detour is its ability to convince us that Al Roberts is just unlucky, but with more than enough hints that tells us he is lying even when it is physically being acted. Is it fantastical or can a man have this much misfortune is a question that if you aren't asking at the end of the movie then watch it again.
This guy just can't get a break.
You know those Whose Line is it Anyway? skits that parody old Film Noir that is just trounced with inner monologue and misunderstanding. Imagine that but not as funny and actually pretty decent.